UPDATED 1747 EST Mar 04/08
Yesterday’s protest at Fantino’s home was, according to those who took part, the ‘best ever.’ Not only did we get some awesome media coverage for Caledonia’s agony, but Fantino was forced into lamely dealing with the fallout of his continued refusal to meet non-native protesters by going to Tim Horton’s in Caledonia for a PR stunt that backfired.
Fantino makes ‘planned’ trip to inspect renovations at Cayuga OPP detachment
One of our number got a call from a reliable source in Caledonia saying Fantino was in Tim Hortons, so Gary McHale – who was not on site – sent out an email to his very extensive media list. We started getting calls from media who were trying frantically to confirm the Timmy’s siting, the significance of which was not lost on them.
Caledonia resident and operator of NumbersWatchDog.com, Lisa Parent, caught up with Haldimand Detachment Commander, Inspector McLean, who explained why Fantino came to town. Apparently, despite the fact that (according to one resident) he was accompanied by a reporter for the Toronto Sun for his routine inspection of police facilities, it was just a coincidence that Fantino ducked the protesters he’s been ignoring for a year and a half to make a PR stop in Caledonia.
Lisa also recorded some remarks shared with residents before we left for Woodbridge. Thanks are due to Judy Laszlo for encouraging residents who weren’t able to go to come to see us off. (See Judy’s great letter to the National Post, ‘We want our lives back.”
Other coverage of Sunday’s protest at Fantino’s home
1. CaledoniaWakeUpCall feature: FantinoGate
2. Toronto Sun, Mar 02/08: Caledonia’s (gone) boom [reprint] Christina Blizzard’s blistering commentary on how people on the Sixth Line have been hurt by lawlessness and the government’s attitude to it appeared the same day as our protest and hammered home our message that it is unacceptable for the OPP and native thugs to deny policing service to Canadian citizens. Blizzard gets gold stars for the best quote to-date on the Ipperwash Inquiry and the government’s reliance on it when justifying the Caledonia agony:
Bryant kept repeating last week that Mr. Justice Sidney Linden’s report on the 1995 shooting of native protester Dudley George at Ipperwash Provincial Park warns against using violence to resolve native standoffs.
All the same, I’m not sure the Linden report said any time an aboriginal group takes it upon itself to use lawlessness to achieve its ends, that it’s a cue for the aboriginal affairs minister to roll over and have them tickle his tummy.
3. Fantino home protester ‘Frank: ‘
http://youtube.com/watch?v=4qnJkfASD5c&feature=user Douglas Fleming speech
http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZmqOuOt4jls&feature=user Stories of terrorism
http://youtube.com/watch?v=a6NyPRSSb0c&feature=user Explanation of ART & MELT
http://youtube.com/watch?v=xBDn1OwfmMo&feature=user Yelling at empty house
http://youtube.com/watch?v=W9jvU4mzSLE&feature=user Protesters march to Fantino’s house
http://youtube.com/watch?v=mQ9PLGkdpgc&feature=user Mark Vandermaas speech
http://youtube.com/watch?v=NfiypLxbUEs&feature=user Illegal to raise flag in Caledonia
http://youtube.com/watch?v=p9sjv0NEO20&feature=user Fantino’s neighbours support cause
http://youtube.com/watch?v=qE9rq5HsD6M&feature=user Get phone call – Fantino in Caledonia
Protest forces Fantino onto AM900 Bill Kelly show – ‘There is NO Two Tier Policing”
Not only did Fantino make a stop in Caledonia yesterday, today he was on the Bill Kelly show (www.900chml.com) followed by protest organizer and Caledonia resident, Merlyn Kinrade who took some jabs at Fantino who had the audacity to say earlier there was no two tier policing in Caledonia. I sent Bill Kelly a message thanking him for getting Merlyn on, and letting him know that Fantino must be the only person in Ontario who believes the OPP aren’t conducting race-based policing:
Thanks so much for having Merlyn Kinrade on to respond to Fantino. These issues are important to our whole country, not just Caledonia so I
hope you’ll forgive me for a somewhat long email – I wanted to give you some references that can help you understand how Fantino is misleading your listeners.
1. Fantino seems to be the only person in Ontario who doesn’t think there’s
Two Tier Justice in Caledonia. The National Post has said it. The Toronto
Sun has said it. The Toronto Star has said it. The St. Catharines Standard
has said it. Mayor Trainer has said it. John Tory has said it. Toby Barrett
has said it. And we have been saying it before all of them.
May I suggest that you have a look at the ‘Proclamation’ that Toby Barrett
recently submitted to Haldimand Council for consideration.
2. Fantino says no one is interfering with the OPP. Check out paras 113+ on
page 47 of the $12M Brown/Chatwell statement of claim which outlines how the OPP were allegedly influenced by 3 Liberal cabinet ministers no less! This story went completely unreported by the media prior to the election.
3. Please read about how a 14 year old girl on the Sixth Line has to take
medication and go to counselling because she (and her family) are afraid in
their home. She is the reason I went to Fantino’s home, and why I will go to
Bryant’s and to McGuinty’s, too if necessary.
4. Imagine if a future government held an inquiry into Caledonia, but never
allowed a single resident to testify and excluded all evidence of native
crimes against them. Now imagine that this inquiry was used to justify a
‘hands off’ approach to landclaim lawlessness in other Ontario homes. That
is today’s legacy of the Ipperwash Inquiry for Caledonia.
Fantino, Bryant and McGuinty know the Ipperwash Inquiry suppressed evidence because we went to Queen’s Park on March 14/07 to release our ‘Ipperwash Papers’ Project to prove it. We left copies of our press kit for McGuinty with John Tory’s office.
5. Fantino is deliberately misleading the public about Caledonia, about us
and about our protests. A perfect example of this was his reaction to the
violence on Dec 1st. when native extremists attacked peaceful non-native
protesters and police officers who were protesting at an illegal smokeshack.
The same day, before any investigation had begun, Fantino issued a news
release falsely blaming us – the victims – for the violence. I suggest you
No one in positions of authority like Fantino or Bryant want to debate the
facts head to head with us because they know we have the documents, the
information, the contacts and the experience to back up what we are saying.
It is not possible to fully appreciate what is going on in Caledonia via a
few minutes on air. Gary McHale, Merlyn and I are prepared to meet with you (and any other CHML staffers) at your convenience to brief you fully on the issues mentioned above (and others, if time) and our role in trying to stop landclaim violence and OPP civil rights violations. We are prepared to give you as much time as you wish to address any concerns or questions you have in order to prove that it is Fantino who is lying to the public and not us.
In the meantime, you may want to read a draft copy of our report called ‘The Human Costs of Illegal Occupations.’ You can download a PDF copy at this link: http://ucare.wordpress.com/2008/02/21/canace-report-the-human-costs-of-illegal-occupations/
Thanks for listening. Please feel free to call anytime, day or night.
What did we accomplish by going to Fantino’s home?
I can’t reveal everything that this protest has accomplished in addition to the terrific coverage of the day, but I can tell you that one promising sign is that media people are making contact with us and paying serious attention to Caledonia’s issues beyond the ‘gotta meet a deadline for the story of the day’ reporting.
The combination of Merlyn Kinrade’s determined leadership on behalf of his community, those Caledonians who have stepped forward with us to tell their stories, and our extensive repository of evidence and research is going to prove deadly for the politicians and the OPP brass who can no longer get away with pretending everything’s just peachy.
I would definitely say that we have gotten closer to the day when OPP cars are rolling down the Sixth Line. That day can’t come too soon.
P.S. If you are a journalist looking for some stories that haven’t been reported, please have a look at ‘VoC interviewed for journalism school project.’ You’ll find a partial list there.
Mark Vandermaas, Editor
Co-founder, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality